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MOONDANCER: A COMMENTARY BY BELLOSH101 It always seems like forever since the last blog article these days. It’s been months since the last blog post, character commentary writeup or otherwise. Well sit back and enjoy the ride folks, because this one today might take a while. A looong while..... [/cackle] (Image drawn by LoopEnd) Development Process: First things first, we’ll need a history lesson. You see, Moondancer is technically NOT an original character, for she was born from the depths of MLP Generation 1. She was around to be glimpsed in the Rescue at Midnight Castle special, but otherwise didn’t have that big of a role to play. The Moondancer I use today uses a G4ized variant of the original, which is pretty much unchanged save for getting rid of the bow on the ponytail (G1 ponies seemed to love those bows) and simplifying her cutie mark. So why care about this random G1 pony? Because FiM’s writers did, for they name-dropped her twice within “Friendship is Magic, Part 1” during the first scenes. However we never actually saw Moondancer during the episode, and without an official design, the Canterlot staff for technical reasons had to declare my pony as an original character instead of a cast pony. Hence, why Moony is not Tier 3 even though I originally planned her to be one. As for why I applied for this mystery mare? Well, let’s consider the following canon facts: Princess Celestia runs a magic school for gifted unicorns. Spike and a number of Twilight’s acquaintances had plans to attend a party for Moondancer and bring her presents. The fact that ponies wanted to do the above for Moondancer meant she had to be pretty well-liked. Ponies who knew Twilight by name and were around her age probably wouldn’t know of Twi unless they belonged to the same student body. Throughout the series, stars and crescent moons have always served as symbols of magic. They appear on clothing worn by Starswirl the Bearded and Trixie, on Twilight’s blankets, and on Moondancer’s cutie mark. Of course, maybe all four love just happen to love astronomy too. XD I’ll be on the level with you folks: I think unicorn magic is cool. Twilight Sparkle is my favorite pony partially for that reason. Moondancer wasn’t the first of my spellcasting ponies however; that honor belongs to Ingrid Marie. But since Ingrid is more of an instructor, I wanted someone who was still a student… somepony highly skilled in magic who still had most of the unknown journey of life ahead of them. Since Twilight during late 2012 was a character that was barely seen in RP, I felt having a “magical girl” character of some sort active in WoE was very important. Indeed, Moondancer might be justifiably explained as a type of anti-Twilight, although completely unlike other anti-Twilights like Trixie and Sunset Shimmer. Instead of being a shut-in, Moony was out making friends for as far as she could remember. While she is still very gifted in magic, Moony never achieved Twi’s level because Moony didn’t want to become a permanent studying machine like the other unicorn. I did my absolute best to keep Moondancer from appearing overpowered, although I could’t resist making her skilled in teleportation. Twi’s warp dance during her Failure Song looked really pretty, so I wanted Moony to do so on a semi-regular basis as a dance… something that made sense for somepony named MoonDANCER. I also wanted this mare to be among my quirkier characters too, but she’s kinda lost a bit of her initial goofiness ever since I’ve won Derpy. (Image drawn by BrainedBySaucepans) Moondancer is by far my most happy-go-lucky and extroverted “OC” I have, which has made her quite more versatile than I ever anticipated. Versatility is an important quality to have for “plain ponies”; essentially, characters fitting the background filler mold embodied by such favorites like Derpy Hooves (I’ll write about her one day) and Vinyl Scratch. Most OCs you’ll ever see on Canterlot look like and act like background fillers; they’re visually designed to blend into the crowd and they don’t really serve any gameplay function but to exist, live run-of-the-mill lives, and maybe liven things up a little if they’re that sort of character (*cough* Derpy). I’ve since fallen out of the habit of designing background filler OCs, my philosophies on which I’ve documented more in detail in one of my older articles. However, I’m proud to say that of those ponies, Moondancer is by far my favorite to use in roleplay. For one thing, I was able to successfully establish her already having a number of pre-existing friends out there in the WoE universe, saving me the trouble of “grinding” through banal meet-and-greet scenarios in order to acquire friends for Moony. And there’s also magic to consider; I love RPs that explore the use of magic whether they’re slice-of-life or adventure threads, and since Moondancer can cast spells and all, well… that makes her RPs all the more awesome for me. On the whole, I’ve gotten great mileage out of Moondancer and much fun from playing her. Much of what I’ve wanted to do with her has already been accomplished or is in the process of being acted out in RP. But her tale is far from over; I’ll still need to figure out what Moony’s going to end up doing once she gets her aetherology degree. But that’s the fun of RPing, ain’t it? PS: As it turns out, IDW has indeed produced a Moondancer character design and gave her a cameo in that Sunset Shimmer bonus comic. Nice to see they also had the good sense to simplify her cutie mark in a manner similar to mine, but I’m in no way interested in amending my “OC’s” CM anytime soon. I don’t want to toss out all the artwork I’ve had requested of Moony just because the stars are aligned differently… and because I’m lazy. (Scan from The Fall of Sunset Shimmer bonus IDW comic) A Night Under the Stars: This became Moondancer’s first RP for a very obvious reason: she’s a night pony, and the thread was littered with night ponies up the ying yang. This included of course the Queen of the Night herself: Princess Luna as played by MyLittlePonyTales back in those days. Technically Moony didn’t do all that much in this RP; she came in halfway through and acted as the most normal pony of the lot, lacking any personal issues to discuss. And this was also one of the first times in WoE that I’d interacted with 2-3 other RPers at once (it happens quite a bit when I’m using Moondancer). You know that pre-existing friendship thing I wrote about earlier? This is the RP where I really started taking advantage of establishing relationships beforehand rather than having to go through the grind of meeting new OCs for the first time. The only pony here that Moondancer met for the first time was Luna; the other two were the long-lost close friend Ice Storm and younger magic student Fire Heart. Both of these unicorns went on to bond with Moony in other threads, especially Ice Storm. Moony’s appearance at Icy’s (abortive) wedding and Moony's resulting romantic misadventure with Lux’s Lore Weaver probably would never have happened if I never made prearranged my unicorn’s friendship with Ice Storm before entering this RP. Nighttime Tomfoolery: I managed to drag Raridash’s Dazzle Dawn out of retirement for this RP. Basically, the importance of this RP was that it strengthened the friendship between Moondancer and Ice Storm, as Icy’s worries about attending slumber parties were finally squashed once and for all. Also, this thread emphasized that Moony and Dazzle were already close friends too; something I always like. I will not hesitate to make similar arrangements with other characters in the future (especially those walking around with gifts during the pilot’s Canterlot sequences). Spellbound Beginnings: Despite me writing the thread’s opening post, credit for the concept ultimately goes to LoopEnd, who wanted to set up a magic guild for WoE. Because I loved the concept so much, I eventually ended up as the de facto captain of this outfit. Technically, this thread is in fact a meet-and-greet thread that I usually tend to shun. Yet I really liked participating in this one, mainly because it was magic-themed and all. Plus a few of Moony’s friends showed up too, which always rules. Yet this thread also taught me to really be wary of multi-pony conversations; my responses to numerous OCs at the same time took forever to write… especially when I was using Ingrid Marie at the same time. Personally, I’d say Spellbound as a group has had mixed success so far. It’s unfortunate to report that almost no new blood has joined our ranks since the completion of the first guild RP, nor have many dedicated Spellbound threads popped up since then. Yet the group is far from forgotten; many members are over in An Equestrian Education helping out with Princess Twilight’s magic camp, and this thread also directly leads into… (Image drawn by Fauxsquared) The Fixer-Upper: One Spellbound member, Tacobob’s Pocket Change, proved himself to be easily tempted by mares back in the last thread. Of course, I kept repeatedly joking to Taco that his OC was hot over heels infatuated with Moondancer, and I even requested LoopEnd to draw a mildly naughty artwork to that effect. As the introductory thread closed, I proposed to set up a private Spellbound thread for our characters to see if a genuine romantic connection could be forged. I always assumed beforehand that I could never realistically match up Moondancer with any character. To me, Moony would be too interested in making friends to see them as romantic partners, let alone find someone with the right… chemistry to make things happen (Lore Weaver learned this the hard way). As things turned out however, Pocket Change actually was somepony Moondancer could fall for: he does everything with passion, always has exciting stories to tell, possesses a tender side, looks really dang hot, and maybe most importantly of all, clearly demonstrated a romantic interest in the mare from almost the get-go. All in all, MoonPocket is by far my favorite ship to write for so far, mainly because Pocket is a fun character to interact with and he’s always immersed in adventure… which when combined with magic, produces extreme excitement! It also helps a lot that I plainly like working with Tacobob. He deserves credit for turning this thread into an interesting mini-adventure with loads of cute shippy scenes. The guy also has a good sense of using humor and littering his posts with worldbuilding, callbacks to previous RPs, and sneaky references. It’s really too bad I’ve never RPed with him earlier until now. The good news: working together, we already have a rough plan for our next MoonPocket thread. ^_^ An Equestrian Education: Funny story… I originally planned on setting up a magic tutoring workshop featuring Spellbound instructors. Those plans fortunately ended up merged into SteelEagle’s plan for a magic camp run by Princess Twilight. Moony for this thread will actually be a student, because the RP needed more grown-up students than just kids... plus Ingrid Marie was already set to be an instructor. With Pocket Change, Lore Weaver, and Dazzle Dawn joining in on the fun too, sparks should be flying very soon! (Image drawn by GhostGirl) ----------------------- That ran long, didn’t it? Hoped you all enjoy the read though, ladies and gentlemen. The next time I do one of these thingies, I’ll finally get to yap about my first (formerly) Tier 2 character. So… watch out!!!
Celestia's sun was rising in the eastern part of the sky, though in this region Ice wasn't really even sure that the sun was even under Celestia's control anymore. This was technically on the border so it was possible her reign may stretch out this far, but no pony could rightfully be sure anymore. Ice Storm looked over the terrain that lay in front of them, and it didn't look at all forgiving. If fact, she was fairly certain that with as many dangers as were here, the Everfree Forest was a safer place than trying to traverse this geyser filled, lava pitted, crevice riddled stretch of land. It looked like just about everything here could easily remove a pony from existence. Regardless of how dangerous the task in front of them was, the group of ponies were here for a reason. One of their best friends, and one of Ice's closest had been kidnapped by a dragon. A dragon that was wanting a rather large ransom for the prestigious painter. Ice was determined that this dragon was not going to get a single bit, and that she would do everything she could to help get her friend back. Naturally, Moondancer and Pocket Change felt the same way, and while she didn't know too much about the grey unicorn, as she had only met him during a few of the Spellbound meetings. Outside of that she never really had much of a chance to speak with him otherwise. The few times she had though, she could tell that his heart and mind were in the right place. Right now though, her thoughts weren't about him, or Moondancer for that matter. At least, not in that sense. She was more concerned about Pressy and her safety. After all, as long as they were still together, they knew that they were as safe as they could be. The didn't have the same luxury of knowing if Pressy was even still alive. Ice shook her head at the thought. "Come on Ice, stop thinking like that. This is Pressy we're talking about here. She's definitely no slouch when it comes to holding her own." She told herself confidently. "Then again, we are dealing with a dragon...." she said starting to now second guess herself. She took another gander out to what was in store for them. It was bad enough that they knew that they were going to have to deal with at least one dragon. The tricky part was the fact that there were many dragons here. This was their migration site after all. What if they accidentally went into the wrong dragon's lair and demanded that they released a pony that they didn't have? Sure they had a description of the dragon to go off of, but they couldn't be certain that they wouldn't run into multiple dragons of that description around. One of the geysers not too far away from the went off, and attracted her attention. That was another thing. They would have to be super careful traversing through this. For all they knew, dragons weren't the only things here. While she was fairly certain that they would be able to see something coming after them fairly easily, the same held true for what they were seeking as well. There wasn't a whole lot in the way of cover that they had to work with so anything would be able to spot them, and should any other random dragon become hungry and decide that they would be a good lunch, they didn't really have many options to hide from them with. There were no trees, no bushes, no anything. There was a few areas that had some larger rocks than others but that was about it. Nothing that would provide them any real protection from a flying reptilian with fire. It didn't really protect them from anything else either. The were completely exposed to all of the elements. Thankfully, Ice could at the very least keep them from being roasted alive from the heat given off of the ground itself. If need be, she could cast her ice layer on the three of them that would act as personal air conditioners at least until it melted. She turned back to the other two as the looked to appear to be waking up themselves. "Alright. Now that we are here we need to come up with some sort of plan. This heat won't be a problem for any of us. I have enough control over Ice to make sure that we don't overheat. Or even stay at a comfortable temperature for that matter. With that in mind, I did a quick scan of the area that we're most likely going to be going through, and.... it's a compete wasteland. It's filled with geysers, lava pools, and crevices that could swallow a pony whole. To top it all off, I didn't see anything that we could stick to for cover, so during most of this journey we're going to be out in the very wide open with no where to run should any dragon decide they want breakfast that morning. Not to mention, we need to narrow down the general location of where this beast is in this caldera. The last thing I want to do is go into the wrong dragon cave and make more dragons angry than we need to. One crazy, raging dragon is more than enough for me," she spoke to them awaiting their responses.
[colour=#cc0033]~Yay yay yay yay yay YAYYYYYY!!!!!!~[/colour] To say that Moondancer’s excitement overflowed from every fiber of her body would have been quite the understatement. Her parents had to make a trip out of town for the weekend, so they left Moondancer to look after their cozy three-story townhouse in one of Canterlot’s more scenic neighborhoods. And like any outgoing, slightly-mischievous child, being left in charge of the home meant only one thing; time to let friends over! But this wouldn’t be an ordinary slumber party, for a very special pony close to Moondancer would be attending. This pony was no other than Ice Storm, a mare who up to now had shunned the moon-flanked unicorn’s nocturnal get-togethers. As a matter of fact, Icy and Moondancer hadn’t seen each other for a long time up until a few weeks ago; a reunion at the Happy Bean Café which happened to include Princess Luna of all ponies. Anyway that night under the starts served to rekindle Icy and Moon’s friendship, and as part of that rekindling, Moon managed to finally convince the unicorn of ice to stay the night at her place and have a little party of sorts. Ice Storm wouldn’t be the only pony to attend however; Moondancer got one of her good friends from the university, Dazzle Dawn, to stay the night too. Since Dazzle graduated from Princess Celestia’s School for Gifted Unicorns, the white-coated mare hoped Icy and Dazzle would remember each other. And when then did, Moon was sure that the two would get along with each other just swell! But now was not the time to dwell on what’ll happen; as a grandfather clock rang at 6PM, Moondancer busied herself by scrambling to do some last minute cleaning around the townhouse before it was presentable. And as always, the young mare waited until the last minute to get a start on it. Summoning a broom with her magic, the unicorn hoped she could finish sweeping before her friends arrived.....